Laughing gas canister found by edge of road

A CANISTER of laughing gas, stolen recently from the community hospital, was found at the side of the A7 on Wednesday morning.

The discovery was made at 11.15am, near Ashkirk, sparking an alert as firefighters attended to ensure the container was not at risk of exploding.

The two foot high blue cylinder was marked in writing with Hawick Community Hospital, whose dental department was targeted by thieves trying to steal laughing gas containers in the early hours of October 13.

On the same day, a number of canisters from Borders General Hospital’s pharmacy department were also taken.

A police spokesman said: “We will be making further inquiries to establish if this canister is one of those previously stolen.”

Laughing gas thefts have increased across Scotland, with fears that it is being used to power boy racers’ cars and as a recreational drug, with the canisters used as scrap metal.

NHS Borders chief executive Calum Campbell last week warned that anyone inhaling the stolen gas, which is used for medical purposes, could cause serious damage to their health.